Chapter One

Chapter One

A Chapter by Trish Farrell

Magdelaine Chelmsley arrives at her parents newly built hall in order to prepare for the season. but the delights of the familys weekend celebration turn to tragedy for Magdelaine.


     The massive new structure expanded before her very eyes as she rode out of the dense Sherwood Forrest and through the Gate house towards her new home. The stone gleamed shiny pearl gray from the insistent sunshine and the many windows reflected the sea of green grass that surrounded the monumental hall. Her father, Arthur Deveroux Chelmsley, first Earl of Anglesey had Chelmsley Hall built for her mother, a tribute to his love for her. It had taken two years to build, and now that it was completed, the Chelmsleys had come to nest in its comforting embrace.

     Magdelaine Deveroux Louisa Chelmsley was just ten and eight in the year 1839, the year Chelmsley Hall was finished. Joining her parents who were already enjoying their sojourn at the new Hall, Magdelaine was extremely excited by the prospect of it all. They would throw deliciously over crowded balls and soirees, entertain Nottingham’s elite inhabitants with glistening displays of abundant wealth, and enjoy numerous visits from people far and wide who wished to examine their newest acquirement.

     Clearing the woods finally, Magdelaine observed the Church which was being built nearby the great hall. It would be within comfortable walking distance, and the magnificent structure would no doubt be the scene of her very successful marriage. Although no match had been made as of yet, Magdelaine was positive she would have a more than agreeable match by the end of the year.

     While she had many offers in the last year, her father allowed her to hold out a bit longer, nurturing her wish for a true love match. He had given till the new year to find a match of her own choice, that met with her parents' approval. If she did not succeed she had agreed that she would marry whomever her parents chose for her. Magdelaine was more than happy with this arrangement and was very confident that she would indeed find her heart’s true match.

     More than midway up the lane towards the house, Magdelaine could see the servants filing out of the grand entrance. Her parents followed suit and awaited her arrival just in front of the main door. When the carriage in which she rode  finally came to a halt in front of the hall, Magdelaine took the hand offered her by the valet and stepped down as gracefully as her excitement would allow. Her parents did not wait for her at the end of the long line of servants as was custom, instead rushing forth in exuberant greeting of their only child.

     “Magdelaine!” Her mother, Pricilla Beatrice Chelmsley held out her arms wide. Her youthful figure still in place, only her eyes showed the truth of her age. Her blonde hair was up in a braided twist as was her usual and her shiny blue eyes were resplendent with the deep blue gown she had chosen. “We thought you would never come!” Turning and arcing her arm to encompass the entire house she exclaimed. “Is it not magnificent?”

     “Indeed a finer structure I have yet to see, Mother.” Magdelaine said. A fine sculptor could not have made the resemblance between mother and daughter any clearer. Magdelaine was in every essence her Mother’s daughter.

     “Enough of your Mother!” The earl said, his voice booming with pride, “No greeting for your father?” he held out his arms in welcome and gladly embraced his daughter when she finally stepped into his arms. The generously proportioned earl folded his meaty arms about his daughters slim waist. He was balding and had left off the wig he wore in the city. His ruddy cheeks were punctuated with sun from the many hunting endeavors he had undertaken this year. “Good of you to finally join us.” he said as he released her with a fatherly chastisement for her having taken so long to join them at Chelmsley.

     “I am sorry Father. I had not meant to be so long, but we were passing through Aberdeenshire.” Magdelaine flashed a beguiling smile at her father, releasing both of her dimples. “I thought to stop and pay salute to Lady Henrietta Wimple, as you know we were in attendance together at Lady Aborthnutt’s spring festivities at Northumberland.”

     “A gray day indeed when one realizes that his only sire’s priority is her friend over her parents!” His round face projected admonishment but Magdelaine knew better. The wink he gave her told her she was correct in assuming that he was indeed teasing her.

     “Now Father.” Magdelaine took his hand in hers and led the way to the massive front door. “Do show me around the place before your pride bursts through and no longer allows you to act sane.”

     “He has been acting a bit strange lately.” Pricilla commented as she walked beside her husband into the large entry hall. Thoughtfully placing her index finger on her chin, she remarked, “I had thought perhaps he had just been sneaking the claret a bit earlier than usual this morning.” She raised her delicately arched eyebrows a fraction at her husbands playfully indignant look.

     “I thought I had hidden that brilliantly, Pricilla.” He dropped an affectionate kiss on his wife’s cheek. “You know me too well.”

     “Oh, it’s even more grand then even I could imagine!” Magdelaine stood drinking in the serene beauty of the greeting hall.

     Pale pinks were muted by light strokes of beige along the wall. White chair rails encompassed the entire room and led the way up the flowing, wide staircase opposite the main door. A huge fireplace with an exquisitely carved mantle was fronted by several small, cushioned chairs and smooth wooden tables that had been polished to an almost obscene gloss. Large portraits of the Chelmsley ancestors had been lovingly transferred from their former home and hung in tiers leading up the stairway. A large cocoa colored rug was laid beneath the chairs in front of the hearth, combining all of the colors in the room to create a welcoming atmosphere.

     “You have certainly out done yourself this time, Father.” Magdelaine drew in a long, relaxing breath and closed her eyes a moment in sheer delight. “It is as much like heaven as I had ever dreamed that heaven would be like.”

     “Just wait until you see your apartments!” Her mother excitedly exclaimed. “The very best designers, no expense spared!” Her mother beamed.

     “She nearly broke me on that one!” The Earl glanced wickedly at his wife. “I daresay she spent twice as much on your suites as she did on ours!”

     “Possibly that is true, my love, however I am not the one who insisted on the porcelain busts and figurines!” Pricilla patted her husbands arm. “I’m sure once she is comfortably married, we can remove those items to your den. Therefore giving you the most expensively decorated den in all of England!”

     “Balderdash!” The Earl stated good humouredly. “What would my peers think seeing a sculpture of the goddess of love in my den?”

“Why they would think I have you good and besotted, of course!” Pricilla was truly in love with her husband, anyone could plainly see that. They never hid their affection from one another. Magdelaine had always been impressed that the pair had found what seemed to be true love even though theirs had been an arranged match.

     “Enough standing about.” Pricilla motioned to the maid that had followed them into the Hall. “Will you be kind enough to show Lady Magdelaine to her rooms?”

     “You will not be accompanying me?” Magdelaine asked.

     “No darling, we have a rather large dinner party planned tonight and we must complete the arrangements.” Pricilla smiled at her husbands grimace. It was more than obvious that Arthur would much rather do anything but what his wife had mentioned.

     Magdelaine followed the young maid up the long flight of stairs to the second floor of the mansion. This floor was also decorated in resplendent style, with many portraits and scenery paintings lining the shell pink walls of the long hallway. Half tables dotted the passage way, many set with vases of flowers or candle lanterns and candle snuffers. The many doors that lined its length were all of purposeful uses, many being large closets that held delicate coverings for the many beds in the home. Magdelaine was delighted by it all and took in as much as she could as she walked behind the maid.

     At the end of the corridor, the maid paused in front of a set of white double doors. Opening them both, the young girl stepped aside.

     “If ye be needing anything, just let me know. My name’s Amberlee.” The young, blonde maid smiled. “There be a bell pull just inside the door that will ring us in the kitchen.” She quietly bowed her head and stepped backwards out of the room, closing the doors behind her.

     Taking a moment to revel in the warm beauty of the room, Magdelaine took in the many cushioned furnishings of what looked to be her sitting room. A large fireplace was just inside the door and was indeed adorned with many tiny porcelain figurines of various gods and goddess’s. Behind a velvety red loungette was situated a large sculpture of Aphrodite. The shiny figure stood facing the grouping of chairs set in front of the fireplace. Pale yellows and golds furnished the room with an energetic feel. Magdelaine could indeed see herself spending many a delightful night reading or perhaps entertaining a close female friend or two in front of the fancy fireplace.

     Examining another set of smaller double doors, Magdelaine found that it opened to her main bedroom. A large four poster, canopied bed sat opposite the doors, draped in deep blue and rich gold trimmed swaths of fabric. A thick rug sat just under the bed which would afford her feet soft comfort when she arose from either side. A side table was beside the headboard and held some of her miniatures from her old bedroom. A dark mahogany chest ornamented with painted roses waited at the foot of the bed, holding no doubt extra blankets for cold winter months. All in all, Magdelaine could not be more delighted with her mother’s wonderful choices in decoration.

     Whilst she was excited to tour the rest of the home, she was also quite tired from her early journey. A nap was in order, perhaps followed by a bath and then a refreshing walk throughout the house just before their evening meal. She found another bell pull just beside her bed and gave it a tug. No doubt someone from downstairs would be able to find her ladies maid, to help her undress for her nap.



     The ballroom candles were ablaze as Magdelaine swirled around the center of the room upon the arm of her suave partner, the Duke of Raithmoore. Her white dress floated dreamily about her ankles while perfectly sewn in gems sparkled their brilliance in the lighted room. The coloring of her new ball gown and fair hair perfectly matched the opposite coloring of her elaborate partner. He was a tall, dark haired man whose blue eyes fixed on a woman and melted her in her slippers.   

     It was really quite daring to dance with him, and especially risqué to do so twice as she was now doing! But she could feel the strength of his thighs as they brushed hers in the movement of the dance, and the rush it gave her intoxicated her.

Twirling in his arms, she let her head lean back slightly and closed her eyes. Reveling in the floating feeling produced by her partners excellence in dance, Magdelaine held onto his muscular form tightly. She didn’t care if it was not proper, she was enjoying herself too much. Besides, her fathers money practically ensured that any tongues that wagged would do so quietly.

     “Let us slip outside to the balcony.” Raithmoore leaned forward to whisper into her ear, holding her much closer than allowed in the process.

     Opening her eyes, Magdelaine realized they had danced towards the large glass doors and were now positioned so that they could slip outside without being noticed among the dancers. Scanning the large room, she searched for sight of her parents but could not locate them in the crush. Deciding naught could happen from this little adventure, Magdelaine smiled wickedly at the handsome man before her, and then turned to slip out of the closest door.

    The evening had cast cool breezes upon them and instantly Magdelaine felt her skin prick with bumps. Her dancing partner was close behind her and slid his hands up her bare arms from behind. She felt a delicious shiver at his touch, but did not outwardly respond. She enjoyed toying with males in general, and this one in particular.

     “Why don’t we move over out of the light of the ballroom?” The Duke’s deep voice caressed the tendrils of hair that had displaced themselves in front of her delicate, shell shaped ear.

     “Perhaps we should stay where we are, Your Grace.” Magdelaine turned a coy smile on him. Pushing playfully against his chest with her gloved hand, she stepped back towards the banister that encircled the porch. The place she chose to stop bathed her partially in the shadows, but not quite fully. She was sure they could still be seen should she require assistance.

     The Duke of Raithmoore wasted no time in closing the distance between them, resting a hand on each side of her body on the banister behind her. He leaned in close to her ear again and questioned in a whisper, “Have you ever been kissed before?”

     “No.” Came her breathy reply. Raising her eyes to his, Magdelaine paused for just a second before closing her eyes to allow him to kiss her.

     His lips hovered a mere fraction above hers. She could feel his warm breath on her skin as he held his position above her lips.

“You are more than desirable tonight, my love.” His voice had become raspy with desire and drug her in deeper to his allure.

     When his lips finally descended upon hers, she felt the world slip into oblivion as she heard nothing other then his heartbeat, or was that her own? It thundered in her ears as he raised a hand to place his thumb upon her throat. She knew he felt the throbbing that she too felt there as her pulse raced. His lips caressed hers gently at first and then slowly demanding more. She parted her lips and was only slightly shocked when his velvety tongue slipped in to dance against hers. She had heard her genteel friends speak of such a thing, but never of just how delightful it was.

     Magdelaine was thrust back to reality when a hushed clearing of a throat reached her ears. Duke Raithmoore heard it too, and quickly straightened, releasing her.

     “No, I certainly do not see where your hair might be caught, Lady Chelmsley.” He coughed only slightly as he delivered this, his only excuse for being so close to her out on the balcony.

     “Perhaps you could see better if you were in the brighter light of the ballroom, Your Grace.” The servant who had cleared his throat offered. Keeping his eyes discreetly on the floor of the balcony, the man dressed in black and gold livery said no more.

     “Thank you most kindly, Your Grace.” Magdelaine demurely lowered her sparkling blue eyes with a slight smile. She walked past him, leaving him at the banister as she entered the bright ballroom again.

     Even having been caught in the midst of a improper embrace, Magdelaine’s mood could not be lowered. She had danced with every desirable catch in attendance this night and had just been given her first kiss by the most sought after bachelor in all of England. Her feet fairly floated as she made her way across the vast room in search of her parents. She didn’t bother to tuck in any loose strands of hair, or to check to see if her lips perhaps would give away her secret.

     She spied her mother’s bejeweled hair first and then her father’s shining head. They were standing among a most noble group of older Earls and other Lords. Magdelaine recognized some of them from previous visits which they had made to the Chelmsleys various homes. Magdelaine was proud that while he may not hold the loftiest of titles, her father could certainly compare his girth of wealth with that of the highest titled gentlemen in the country.

     Stopping next to her mother, Magdelaine smiled at each male in the circle fully. Her mother had always been a master at drawing people into her circle, and Magdelaine was an apt pupil. She had watched over the years, her mother charm even the most disagreeable of people with a simple smile or gesture. Pricilla Chelmsley had made more than one ally for her husband with her drawing room charms, and both her daughter and Arthur knew this.

     “I see that you had another dance with His Grace.” Pricilla’s blue eyes narrowed shrewdly on her daughter. “If you hope to catch him, you must not give to much away.”

     “Is he truly the type to snared like a rabbit in a baited trap, Mama?” Magdelaine’s low voice reached only her mother’s ears despite the close proximity of the gentlemen in their circle. But, her wide eyed innocent expression did not for one moment fool Pricilla.

     “Just be aware darling, he is not a man to toy with.” Pricilla bent slightly and whispered, “there is more than one way to ensnare a rabbit.” Smiling superiorly, Pricilla patted her daughter’s arm and turned her attention back the men at hand, smiling warmly at the eldest in the group, the Earl of Dragmere.

     Magdelaine spied His Grace making his way to the refreshment table, laden with lobster cakes, tortes of every variety and champagne punch. She realized she had a sudden thirst and made a motion to leave her parents' small group but was stopped by the warning hand of her mother. Pricilla had not missed the Duke’s direction, or her daughters intention.

     “You mustn’t follow him like a doe eyed school room miss.” Pricilla kept her voice low. “It will get you nothing to make yourself too available.”

     “Whatever do you mean, Mama?” Magdelaine’s eyes widened in innocence again. “I am just desirous of a drink. I am quite parched after so many dances.”

     “Do you really think that you can fool me?” Her mother asked matter of factly.

     Catching a young Lord Dersby who had been passing by unawares, Pricilla smiled coyly and requested that the young man bring back refreshments for her and her daughter. The light haired gentleman stammered and almost tripped over himself to do her bidding. He was not but a year or two older than Magdelaine herself, but he flushed mightily from the almost flirty attention of the Countess . Magdelaine stood in awe of her mother’s ability to lessen any man to a quivering puddle of amiability. Although the young lord was really of no consequence and probably had little time in the presence of societies deities, his title of Marquis was of higher rank then Pricilla’s and it astounded her daughter that her mother could get such results with just the batting of an eyelash.

     “How do you do that?” Magdelaine blurted out.

     With a gentle laugh, Pricilla answered her truly astonished daughter. “The trick is, never act superior and always expect to be turned down.” Smoothing the silken sleeve of her emerald green ball gown, Pricilla continued as if discussing a plain variety of flower. “Men want to feel as if they are in charge.” Pricilla eyed her husband who stood across from her, her love for him shown plainly in her expression. “If they think for one moment that you are manipulating them, the run like frightened deer. However, if you use the right tone and facial expressions, you can get just about anything you want or need from them, and they will be happy to provide it!”

    “But Mama…” Magdelaine said. “The poor man looked as if you had just declared him King of England!”

     “Indeed he did didn’t he?” Pricilla laughed daintily. “I must admit, it surprised even me how truly happy he seemed to procure us our refreshment.”

Laughing together, the two ladies who looked so much alike stood with their heads bent together. The men in their circle stopped their discussion and eyed them strangely. Noticing this, Pricilla straightened and fixed her face with a delighted smile. The other members of the group immediately smiled back at her with the exception of her husband, the Earl.

     “I have no idea what you two giggling hens are up to,” he stated sincerely, “but I hope it does not involve the spending of my limited funds!”Arthur winked devilishly at his wife who had the grace to blush beautifully. “Spent a king’s ransom just to build this place and she probably at this very moment scheming to build herself a formidable castle in the middle of France!”

     “No my dear…” Pricilla responded, acknowledging the scattered chuckles of the men beside her. “Never in France!”

     The men bathed her in appreciative laughter at her tart remark, but quickly resumed their ongoing discussion of land laws when Pricilla and Magdelaine turned to accept the drinks from the young man who had brought them. They exchanged pleasantries with him and Magdelaine accepted his proposal of a dance later that evening. Lord Danbury again stammered in response to the kind inquiries that Pricilla made of his family. Blushing at his unpolished responses, he excused himself and tottered off into the crowd. Both ladies exchanged a good hearted chuckle at his shyness and agreed that in a few years time, they would no doubt see him confidently escorting the prettiest of ladies around the ballroom.

     Pricilla dutifully kept her daughter from Duke Raithmoore’s side for the rest of the evening, instead encouraging every young buck that strolled by into polite conversation. This usually ended in the man requesting a dance from one of the two. Magdelaine was positive that by dawns light she would not be able to stand without help never mind stroll the gardens of Chelmsley as would be required with their remaining guests on the morrow. Excusing herself just past four in the morning, Magdelaine fairly limped up the stairs to her chambers. Although she had spied Duke Raithmoore partnering a few dazzling females on the dance floor throughout the night, she had not spoken another word to him.

     Gentle summer breezes wafted through the fully blooming garden of Chelmsley on the afternoon following the ball. Magdelaine had slept late, as was custom after such a large and successful evening so she missed the light luncheon that was served and woke up ravenously hungry. Peering through the glass of a window in her office, Magdelaine looked down upon a few of their guests that had remained the night before.

     She could see Lord and Lady Winthrop strolling lazily in the area of the English roses, and a little further down, Lord Stanley stood in deep discussion with the Viscountess Weatherly, while the latter’s husband sat on a bench nearby puffing on a pipe of large proportion.

     Magdelaine sighed at the social duties ahead for her. She knew she would be expected to stroll in the garden and point out the most prized of their flowers, or perhaps make their guests feel more at home with small talk about the days most current events. While she despised gossip, she often found that generally there was little other form of news in the parlors around London. She knew she must be accessible to the peerage that remained as they may have eligible sons with which she would at some later date in the year wish to make a connection. She would need to appear hospitable and entertaining at all times, even if her feet did hurt like the devil had danced on them.

     After a slight courtesy knock on her apartment’s outer doors, two maids came in bearing a tray each filled with delightful food for Magdelaine. They carried their load into where Magdelaine stood in her study. She spied the tall porcelain pot of steaming chocolate and her mouth began to water. She really would need to remember to procure a small bite to eat next time before retiring to bed.

     When all had been set out on a knee high table in front of the fireplace in the small room, Magdelaine wasted no time in covering a sweetly buttered piece of toast with raspberry jam. She felt her taste buds prick as she took and chewed her first bite. Savoring the flavor, Magdelaine took another and yet another bite until the entire piece was devoured in a matter of seconds.

© 2010 Trish Farrell

Author's Note

Trish Farrell
Comments about the story line are especially helpful and any comments about grammar mistakes would be wonderful as well.

My Review

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someone sent it to be, glad I came t read. I like how you worked out the characters and how you were able to keep it vivid and fresh with lovely metaphors. I enjoyed it a lot.

Posted 14 Years Ago

I have not yet finished....started but my husband is demanding attention. Oh the pains of the happily married. You have captured my interest in the 1st few paragraphs. For me that is the key. If you don't interest me in the 1st few pages I will put a book down.

I can't wait to get back and finish the chapters you have posted.

Posted 14 Years Ago

I can say that im liking the storyline alot

Posted 14 Years Ago

Excellent imagery and use of language for the time period. I was immediately drawn into the story by Magdelaine's character. So far this seems to be the beginning of an excellent historical romance. The dialogue is a nice touch and your descriptions are delightful. As far as grammar is concerned my main suggestion would be to watch run-on sentences. Overall, this is a good first chapter for this genre. I am looking forward to seeing how your story progresses.

Posted 14 Years Ago

I found this intriguing. the language/tone used fits nicely with the time period of the story - giving it a well crafted - old world feel. Also found the dialogue enjoyable.

Posted 14 Years Ago

its a bit slow for me, but this really isn't my genre. you are very good at creating an environment though, and you have a lot of comments, so you are doing something right. that's the part that amazes me the most. I get one or two tops...but it might help if I finish a piece.

Posted 14 Years Ago

Telling a story completly is not as good as telling it beautifully A good story sings in prose like music and flows from the minds eye like a dream I think you should shorten it and add beautiful prose to the story to make it a picture in the mind not of things but of emotions!!

Posted 14 Years Ago

I liked it in that the plot was nice, but it was a bit daunting. To make it less so you could put a space in between the paragraphs instead of just the tab to show where the new paragraph started, or maybe have the part where she sees her new home as a prologue and the ball as the first chapter, simple things like that. Overall, I thought it was very well written. I hope you continue it.

Posted 14 Years Ago

I must agree with another commenter. "Show, don't tell." It's a very big concept when writing. Sometimes too many adjectives can be a bad thing.

Posted 14 Years Ago

You have a very sweet writing style! Beautiful descriptions, with great metaphores. Can tell you really enjoyed writing this!

Posted 14 Years Ago

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30 Reviews
Shelved in 9 Libraries
Added on January 26, 2010
Last Updated on January 27, 2010
Tags: historical, romance, love, fiction


Trish Farrell
Trish Farrell


I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I have read too many books to think about even adding up how many. My main area's of interest fall in historical romance with an occasiona.. more..

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